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O.T: Long Slumber Ends for 1919 Lombard Tractor

Terry Harper

Cast Iron
Sep 3, 2009
Maine USA
Well... yet another adventure begins! Back in July Paul and I spent a wonderful day awakening his circa 1919 Lombard tractor from a long slumber. This particular machine was salvaged from a remote site near Glazier Lake in far, far northern Maine back in the 1960's by the late John Connors. John also had acquired the remains of sister Lombard that had been cutup and the engine used to power a sawmill. In 1991 Paul and his brother Ray acquired the complete chassis and remains and began the restoration. Completed in 1996 it had sat dormant for the last 26 years.

What makes this beast unique is its the oldest surviving, intact Lombard tractor. As such it has quite a few unique features including a brass radiator surrounds as opposed to cast. A really neat gear shift where the lever actually slides sideways and what appears to be a massive flywheel mounted Hilliard clutch as opposed to the later transmission mounted Lombard unit. However, what really sets this machine apart is the engine which is the original Sterling Model FT. As far as we know this is the only surviving example.

A big six cylinder T-head with a bore of 5-1/2" and a 6-3/4" stroke (962 cid) Designed in 1915 by the Sterling Engine Company of Buffalo, NY. it is based on their model "F" marine engine. It features a fully counter balanced crankshaft and a crazy full pressure lubrication system using an oil pump that is actually three pumps in one (a scavenge pump drawing from each end of the oil pan and a service pump). It also has dual ignition via a magneto and an Atwater-Kent "Unisparker" (distributor) and dual plugs. To say its a high quality engine would be an understatement. I am confident it would put even a Locomobile T-head to shame. While its only rated at 145 hp @ 1,500 rpm its just massive torque. When the governor kicks in your going over or through whatever is in the way. You don't just hear this engine - you feel it! Its also a very smooth running engine.

Anyway, before I arrived Paul had done quite a bit of prep-work - setting up a temporary gas supply, installing new battery cables etc. After a bit of frustration we found out that the condenser in the magneto was long past its goodness date. After swapping out the magneto and fiddling with setting the timing along with a healthy does of gas through the primer cups and the beast rumpled to life. Since it is setup with skis and Paul wasn't willing to sacrifice his blueberry bushes we couldn't go far with it. This Spring it will be moved to the Maine Forest & Logging Museum. We will give it some TLC and hopefully have it out and about during future winter events.

Here is the video:

Daylight for the first time 26 years. Yes, I new seat is top of the list!


What it looked like before the restoration:
SCN_0001 (1).jpg

Since the engines were identical, Paul and Ray used the complete engine that came from a Lombard that had been cut-up to power a sawmill.

Sterling Section.jpg

Sterling Lombard Engine Clinton Tractor Journal June 1 1919.jpg
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As with the thread from a few years ago dealing with our revival of the 1928 Lombard Model "T" dump truck. Which, by the way has become very reliable machine indeed! I will attempt to keep you posted on progress with the circa 1919 Lombard tractor..... which... leads us into the first update...

The machine was setup from new with 12 volt electrics. One item missing was the generator which I believe was a Leece-Neville unit. However, we ended up with a North East electric Co. generator (Model LB) which came from a slightly later Sterling engine and should be a direct bolt in. However... the end cap is crappy diecast pot metal from the 1920's which had badly deteriorated over the years. We could look for another generator but my curiosity has me taking up the challenge of salvaging this one.


So... since we have some new technology in my lab we decided to go high tech. First task was to scan it using the new FARO Quantum Pro. It took five scans to capture all the geometry. Thankfully we have an 8th axis turn table which helps a lot! Here are the five scans clean-up and merged and ready to be exported.

The scan imported into SolidWorks.
After importing into SolidWorks the real job begins! As it stands now we have it about 90% reverse engineered. Once we have the solid model we have several avenues we can follow including 3D printing a pattern to have a casting made (lost PLA might be the way to go on that one) Simplify the design and mill it out of solid, or have it 3D metal printed in aluminum with some machine work required.

Anyway, its is proving to be a fun and challenging project!
Glad to see this post Terry, I was thinking about the engine you were posting about in the past, is it done, can you update us on it?

The big Wisconsin isn't done yet. I have made very S.......L.......O........W progress. However, on a good note I did get the castings for the lower water manifold so I now have all the missing castings replaced.
With the circa 1919 Lombard awake and awaiting the move to the museum, we decided a trip to the Lombard "parts store" was in order. We had no specific needs but its always good to peruse the shelves and know what is in stock.

This meant a long drive on Northern Maine's wonderful logging roads.

Followed by many miles of slogging through the woods looking for a very small insignificant spot in a very big forest. That yellow line in the upper right is the international border.


Unfortunately we could not find "that spot." But.. we are sure a mythical pile of parts is out there waiting to be found somewhere out there in the "parts store". Come spring we will make another trip.
Today we finished up the reverse engineering for the generator rear housing using the 3D scan data and created the shop drawings. We also sent out the file for quotes for the 3D metal printing. In the meantime we are formulating plans 'B' and 'C'.

I also found a source for replacement bearings which were originally supplied by Noma-Hoffman. We could clean-up and use the original bearings but new bearings are cheap for the piece of mind they would bring.

Here are some views of the finished SolidWorks model
Solidworks Model-1.jpg

Solidworks Model-2.jpg

Section view
Solidworks Model-3 - Copy.jpg
Ok.... just got a quote to have the piece made using DMP (direct metal printing) in aluminum. I knew it would be expensive and mostly likely out of our budget range but this was an eye watering $1,999.00. Mind you there is no design work on their end. I have taken care of that - just setup, machine time, materials and post processing. Understand that the cost of an industrial DMP printer is staggering and materials are not cheap. They cannot crank out hundreds of parts per hour to amortize the cost. Adding that quote to the time I have in the project to date (if it wasn't pro bono) and we would be around $3,500.00 Then we still have machining to do with programming, setup and machine time to consider.

Now to plan 'B'.... which is lost PLA.... this is nothing more than a type of investment casting similar to lost wax casting. Only we use a 3D printed PLA pattern. Once invested the PLA pattern is burned out leaving a cavity that replicates the pattern exactly. Once cast we breakaway the investment and we have a really nice casting for a very reasonable cost.

So... off we go on that adventure!
So with a few things such as the rear housing to the generator slowly bubbling along and waiting for the never-ending winter to end so we can move the beast to the museum, it can seem as if little to no progress is being made. However, today was a fantastic day!

We just received a package containing a magnificent set of headlights for the 1919 Lombard. These were donated by a very generous individual and are an exact match of the headlights that it would have sported when it left the Waterville, Maine factory 104 years ago. It never ceases to amaze me how a project such as this can generate such tremendous support and generosity and even more important bring us together as a community and grow our friendships just amazing!

That is 1 Ea bad ass unit you got there ! I can see the women & children running from it from over here .
Thanks for posting updates on these tractors and engines. It's fantastic to see this level of preservation going on, and extra fun to see the step by step progress.

I like projects like this that utilize the whole range of technological resources we have. Too often people think that only the newest methods are best, and while that is often true, IMO the whole of our past is a tool box to draw from and when used, it makes the end results so much better.

My brother is restoring a 3/4" ton 1959 Chevy Apache long bed and putting a more modern engine and chassis under it. I've often thought about taking his old running gear with it's 235 inline 6 and turning it into a flat bed run-about like these Lombards. With the most sparse front end "body" of a hood, dash and fenders, it would make a fun little rig.
Not a whole lot to report. It touched 60F up here yesterday but the ice hasn't gone out of the river yet. The roads are still too soft to move the Lombard and we have to do some other work before we can load it up for the the trip to the museum.

As far as work is concerned, the headlights have been gone over - contacts cleaned-up, questionable wiring replaced. New bulb's installed. I also had to fabricate one hinge pin. We tested them using a 12V battery and they work great!

Paul sent me the castings for the headlight forks. Some were machined but other have not been. I need to figure out a fixture to hold them.

The Building Trades students at the Presque Isle Tech Center fabricated a new seat using the seat from the 1934 Lombard as a go-by. This will help a lot! The clutch is very, very stiff with a powerful spring so you have to firm grip on the steering wheel to get enough leverage to push it in. I had visions of Paul's hands slipping and him being catapulted off the machine. The seat should make it much nicer!

Next week we have the
annual boiler inspection on the Steam Log Hauler and if all works well I will head down to Paul's and do some more work on the beast.